Finding existing data

Research Data Management Support can help you find existing data to build upon.

The advantages of using existing data

Universities, research institutes, funders and publishers require you to make your research data as reusable as possible. This also makes it possible for you to use the data of others. Before you start your project, find out if the data you need is already available or if similar data exists. Then evaluate if the existing data is sufficient to conduct or complement your research with. It is worthwhile to use existing data for several reasons:

  • It can inspire you to do other measurements.
  • You can do a meta-analysis at the end of your project.
  • You could save valuable time by not having to collect data and expand your research focus.
  • Existing data can save you lots of time in optimising your specific study design or by simply reusing it.

Watch the tutorial underneath to get started:

Six ways to discover existing data

DIY 

Here are some tips to search for existing data yourself: 

  • Search specific databases for research data. At re3data.org many are listed.
  • NARCIS is the portal for research data from Dutch universities.
  • Search scientific literature and check if supplementary data is available.
  • Use Google. For instance, when looking for numbers on car crashes formulate your search: car crash database OR dataset OR archive OR register OR statistics OR index.
  • Zanran allows you to search the internet for graphs and tables embedded in documents.
  • Large institutes such as CBSWHO or the government also collect and provide useful data.
Icon of a magnifying glass which focuses on finding data

Our expertise

RDM Support:

  • has expertise in finding reusable datasets you can use to expand your research focus;
  • will check the terms of use of datasets that we find and can advise you on how to negotiate these terms;
  • can provide you with tips for proper reuse.